Breakers: from the diary of Seaweed Sully (in the style of Mark Twain).

If rational days should ever again befall me, and I look once more upon this diary, I reckon its pages will seem like one long dream--100% illusion. I can scarcely believe it now, and if I live to see a dual meet with the moon, I'll never understand this sport...swimming. It is more than probable, though, that 50% of the confusion centers around something called an "age group parent," while the other 50% enshrines Cap'n Hauck. The athletes themselves have no part in this, which undoubtedly explains why young swimmers are so successful--they are too young to think (bless their little ulcer-less souls). But here is where I become confused. For, though I have heard it said that swimming is, indeed, a sport dominated by youth, there seems to be at least one adult over thirty-five swimming for every youngster. I must own that I have never seen one in a workout of a meet, never seen one breathing hard after a race, nor standing in the cold night air in a swimming suit with water and steam rolling from their bodies. Neither have I seen one with that look--"the agony of defeat"--nor one with the exhausted glow of winning. Likewise, they seem to have a different philosophy of training, for they do not make the same sacrifices that the youngsters make (healthy sacrifices, but still sacrifices)...those of diet and activities which are conditioning. But these are all physical signs of a swimmer; these are just the things that the swimmer does...things that could not possibly have any emotion behind them, no depth of insight or motivation, no grasp of "real" values, I suppose.... Many of the adults, on the other hand, are part and parcel of the emotional side to swimming, and though, as I've said, I've never really seen them in action, I've heard some of them talk: I've heard some of them tell of how they swim races, how others should swim, and what's wrong with so-and-so and who's to blame, and why so-and- so is now confused as to who's right, ad infinitum (as they say in mathematics, I think). All told, I suppose you would have to say adult swimmers are more prone to change than the youngsters, too, for I have heard many of them vow that they would switch clubs and, indeed, do so. I have seldom if ever heard the youngsters in this frame of mind and, in fact, have noted a positive alienation to the idea. It seems unfortunate, therefore, that the adult swimmers who switch almost always see fit to have their children swim for that "other club," as well as themselves. I used to allow that this was why these families would rather fight than switch, though perhaps this isn't so, and, as I've said before, these are only youngsters who condition their bodies and not their minds. After all, it seems unlikely that pain, sacrifice and dedication could secure values to these little people. What possible ideals could take root in the soul of one who physically punishes himself every day? So it's probably for the best that the adults intrude so intimately into the goals of the younger swimmers and decide who they will swim for. Still, there must be a better solution.... Say, why not have more than on coach on a fact, a coach for every swimmer! That way one could change coaches every day and receiver the benefit of scores of stroke analyses, opinions and corrections. Strikes me as curious no-one ever tried that before. Seems this swimmin' ain't so mixed up after all. I'm beginning to understand it clear as day, maybe I'll even try my hand at straightenin' swimmer out myself. Sure's good not to be so confused anymore...


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